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The precise links, if any, between Somalia's Islamists and al-Qaeda are decidedly murky.
But there is little doubt that the US and other western countries see Somalia in particular - and East Africa in general - as a potential breeding ground for violent Islamic extremists.
Al-Qaeda itself has made little secret of its approval of Islamist fighters in Somalia, with Osama Bin Laden frequently voicing his support for them.
Most of the attention focuses on a group known as al-Shabab...
Noleye said Monday it was unclear who launched the airstrike Sunday night, but only U.S. aircraft have launched such strikes in Somalia in recent months.
Airstrikes, possibly by U.S. planes, caused explosions in a remote area in southern Somalia, officials said Monday. There was no immediate information on casualties.
"We contacted some of our people on the ground and they confirmed that it was a(n) (air)strike," Noleye said, adding that soon afterward they lost radio contact.
American officials confirmed a U.S. airstrike on May 1 that killed Aden Hashi Ayro, the head of the military wing of Somalia's Islamists, along with 24 other people. Members of the military wing called al-Shabab, meaning "The Youth," have vowed to avenge his death.
Somalia has been in a state of anarchy since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. In December 2006, neighboring Ethiopia sent troops to prop up a U.N.-backed government that has been unable to assert much authority and is facing an insurgency in the capital, Mogadishu.